The year's most controversial information technology management issues

SearchCIO.com editors take a look at controversial issues facing CIOs. Read them again, if for nothing else but to whet your appetite for a good argument.

What fun would life be without something to argue about? It'd be pretty dull, we say, and the news we got to cover in 2007 on SearchCIO.com proved anything but boring. We've gathered the information technology management issues that generated a hullabaloo among our readers, vendors, analysts and, of course, us editors.

1. Age discrimination

Without a doubt, CIOs have their careers top of mind. While debates were waged on everything from the importance of business skills to whether it pays to get in good with the CEO and the need for longer tenure, it was age discrimination and the baby boomer brain drain that got readers most up in arms.

Related stories:

Gartner to CIOs: Change the world, don't automate it
Rather than driving a strategy focused on continuous improvement, CIOs need to be thinking about how they can use IT to give their employers that competitive edge.

Baby boomer brain drain may be hype, but it's not a lie
Some CIOs say the exodus of legacy workers is overhyped. But that doesn't mean it isn't really happening.

Best Buy age discrimination suit signals bigger issue for IT
Best Buy's recent settlement of an age discrimination suit seems especially timely, as concerns mount about how to handle the aging IT worker.

Salary Report: Senior IT execs leverage skills, earn big bonuses
Senior IT execs are seeing the largest pay increases since 2001. Upshot: It's time to ask for a raise.

CIO pay: Under the radar and maybe rightly so
The good news is that the public outcry over excessive pay for U.S. executives is unlikely to extend to CIOs anytime soon. The bad news is, well, the same.

Happy CEOs delusional about CIO performance
A new study says your CEO is satisfied with your job performance, but then again, it appears he doesn't really know what you do.

Gartner to CIOs: Think, talk and walk like a CEO
Successful CIOs will become business leaders first, technology gurus second. Gartner analysts give CIOs a roadmap.

CIOs still vie for business credibility
A new survey reveals that CIOs want to drive strategy, but the opportunity continues to elude them.

CIOs become teachers, shape new IT talent
With enrollment in computer science programs down, CIOs must work with universities to make sure graduating students have the skills they need.

2. Going green

If you talk to vendors, green IT is better. But CIOs are not jumping on the green IT bandwagon -- even the largest organizations are taking a wait-and-see approach, which experts say is shortsighted. Clearly, energy and power are pressing information technology management issues within large enterprises, and vendors are aggressively attempting to deliver metrics, as well as products, in that effort. Regardless, it'll be a long haul until CIOs see cost savings.

Related stories:

Waiting on green technology is shortsighted, say experts
Waiting for vendors and government agencies to come in and solve your data center cooling and capacity issues is a big mistake, say experts speaking at a data center conference this week.

Green Grid tackles how to measure power usage
The Green Grid opens for business, with a charter, a high-powered board and an invitation to others to get behind the cause.

HP sees green in energy efficiency
Can a company that has spent years creating the problem lead the way to energy efficiency in IT areas -- and make a bundle doing it? HP announces its intention to do just that.

Green computing slow to take hold in U.S. businesses
Just about every business wants to be environmentally friendly, but being green isn't cheap and it isn't necessarily easy -- or is it?

Gartner dumps on Green Grid
Consultancy Gartner has "strong reservations" about the tangible results The Green Grid will produce and says the consortium is missing an opportunity to tackle broader environmental issues. But members cry foul.

EPA report gives data centers little guidance
Initial reaction to a new EPA report calling for greater energy efficiency in the nation's data centers ranges from lukewarm to hostile. Some analysts say the Congress-mandated study doesn't go far enough, while others complain that it attacks the helpless -- you.

Green Grid offers roadmap for tackling energy issue
Under some criticism that it isn't doing enough to get to the bottom of the data center efficiency problem, The Green Grid consortium laid out its three-pronged approach to tackling the issue.

Data center strategies: Five ways to handle a heat wave
The heat is on in the data center and will be for years to come, according to recent reports. Here's a primer from Gartner on what you need to know going forward.

Green IT in the data center: Plenty of talk, not much walk
A new survey from Symantec of 800 data managers worldwide shows that protecting the environment is low on the totem pole for most data center stewards.

Top 10 ways to save energy in the data center
A data center energy efficiency expert offers 10 tips for reducing energy consumption in the data center at the 2007 Gartner Data Center Conference.

CIOs save green by going green in the data center
CIOs who are using green IT options to improve energy efficiencies in their data centers are also seeing improved cost savings.

Energy, market demands drive up price of hosted data centers
Surging energy costs and demands for space mean CIOs are getting squeezed as providers of hosted data centers jack up their prices.

Green IT and the data center: A Special Report for CIOs
Data center energy efficiency and environmental awareness are becoming important issues for CIOs. Learn more with these resources from SearchCIO.com and CIO Decisions.

3. ITIL demands executive support.

It's true. The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) isn't that controversial, but boy, is it talked about a lot. Enterprise CIOs just can't get enough advice on change management, training and certification options, executive support strategies and common pitfalls. ITIL version 3, released midyear, gave CIOs and analysts even more information technology management guidance to digest.

Related stories:

ITIL tough but worth it, says midmarket telco firm
Just another process? Perhaps. But for one firm, going from no process to being process-centric turned it into a well-tuned IT organization.

ITIL framework finds new stakeholders with v3
In his latest column, Brian Johnson reviews the evolution of ITIL and how the focus of the latest version is attracting more nontraditional stakeholders and a stronger need for executive support and group participation.

Mediacast: ITIL V3 Live!
ITIL version 3 has arrived! Now what? Get the lowdown on the latest version of the IT Infrastructure Library with webcasts from SearchCIO.com.

ITIL: Not just for bookworms
ITIL is bringing law and order to the Wild, Wild West of IT services delivery.

ITIL strategies for CIOs
Midsized companies are adopting ITIL standards at a very fast pace, and there's a lot to consider. This supercast, featuring magazine articles, online articles, webcasts and podcasts, examines decision points for CIOs when evaluating ITIL, as well as advice on change management, training and certification options, executive support strategies and common pitfalls.

ITIL dons a suit and tie
The new and expanded ITIL v3, released today, aims to put the emphasis where it belongs: on the business. CIOs especially should take notice.

4. Social networking

Admit it. Sites such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace are the bane of a CIO's existence. Even the Department of Defense (DOD), concerned about security, took its cue from businesses and banned U.S. troops from using social networking sites. Yet, social networking continued (and will continue) to be top of mind for CIOs -- like it or not. Many may even learn to embrace it.

Related stories:

DoD takes cue from U.S. businesses, blocks YouTube, MySpace
Experts say that controversy aside, the DOD's decision to block social networking sites mirrors what businesses have been doing for years to protect networks.

Firms mull over blogs, but doubt business value
New research shows a majority of companies are considering deploying corporate blogs, but see limited business value in the technology.

Second Life job fairs boost IT prospects
Except for a few glitches navigating through a virtual world, big-name companies such as Accenture and Microsoft find that Second Life is proving itself to be a worthwhile venue for finding future employees.

Facebook, MySpace tolerated by businesses, survey says
Despite known threats to security, bandwidth and employee productivity, nearly half of CIOs recently polled say they don't ban popular social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook.

Facing your fear of Facebook
With the premise that you can't criticize what you don't understand, CIOs and IT managers are being challenged to take on a social networking leviathan -- and join Facebook.

Facebook's professional potential evolves
With 52 friends and counting, this Facebook challenge has taken over my life (don't tell my editor). But a lot of us are still wondering: Can I really use Facebook in business? My answer? Why not?

Social networking key campaign strategy, says former senator
Former U.S. Senator Bill Bradley has some advice for his political brethren: Get thee on a social networking site.

5. Staffing

It was a good year to be looking for a job; a bit tougher if you were looking to hire. The pool of job candidates was good, but the pickings were slim and CIOs had to think outside the box when it came to hiring and retaining the best employees. Analysts predict 2008 will be more of the same.

Related stories:

CIOs bullish on Q1 hiring
Experts predict that IT hiring will show solid growth in 2007 and CIOs will work especially hard to keep good workers.

Keeping tech skills up to date stresses workers
Researchers say IT workers are stressed out about keeping their technical skills sharp. Should they suck it up, or do you need to cut them some slack?

A booming job market means headaches for CIOs
New research shows that IT salaries are growing at a faster rate than any time this decade. With a shrinking talent pool and expanding headcounts, CIOs are scrambling to hire new staff and to hold on to those they already have.

IT hiring spike strongest in finance, real estate
Recession, what recession? Some CIOs are out holiday shopping for IT staff, especially in certain regions and for certain skills.

Winning the IT labor battle in the 'age of the worker'
The retirement of the baby boomers and a decline in computer science majors means CIOs must find creative ways to attract and keep a high-quality staff.

Three steps to maximizing your IT staff resources
CIOs are still expected to do more with smaller staffs. In his latest column, James Champy offers three principles for successfully utilizing your IT staff to its fullest potential.

CIOs scramble for project managers
The pressure on IT to deliver projects on time and on budget puts project management skills atop the list of hiring priorities for many CIOs. But for all kinds of reasons, a good project manager is hard to find.

Project managers top CIOs' must-have list
Historically, project managers were a luxury most midmarket companies couldn't afford -- and thought they could do without. But now a growing number of CIOs say without a project manager, why bother?

IT jobs: Tapping teens to fill the gap
In an effort to help with a looming IT labor shortage, some local SIM chapters are drumming up interest among teens to consider careers in IT. The program includes a summer camp and a few bright, shiny objects.

People skills outrank tech skills, researcher says
At Gartner's Business Process Management Summit, research vice president Diane Morello said tech skills will always be needed, but they'll take a back seat to relationship management.

Report: Techies anxious about lack of business skills
This month's Dice Report shows that IT professionals worry they lack the business skills to get ahead. According to some experts, the anxiety is not misplaced.

Tech skills not so important anymore, say CIOs
New polling data shows CIOs want more project management competency from employees and better so-called soft skills.

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